Students and faculty from the CSCU system called for provide emergency funding after budget cuts.
Connecticut’s state universities and community colleges are in fiscal crisis because of a pandemic-related enrollment drop.
Mark E. Ojakian, the political operative who became president of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system, persisted where academics failed.
But students who attend the four regional state universities will likely face a 3.8% tuition increase next year.
The accreditors’ letter has prompted a wide array of interpretations from faculty and others who are divided over the controversial plans to merge the state’s 12 community colleges.
Faculty who cast votes of no confidence in CSCU President Mark Ojakian and his plan to to consolidate the 12 community colleges say no one is listening to them.
Even with the 5 percent increase in tuition, the state’s four universities face a $20 million shortfall.
Ojakian expects that when the 12 community colleges are consolidated into one state college — in 2023, if all goes as planned — the annual savings will be $23 million.
Lawmakers on the Higher Education Committee unanimously supported bills that would stop plans to merge the state’s 12 community colleges.
The proposed tuition hike would translate into $804 more next year for in-state students attending Central Connecticut State University in New Britain and $899 more at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.
The group delivered a petition to Gov. Ned Lamont’s office and called on him to help.
Critics of the plan fear it could put the state at risk of losing its accreditation, incur extra expenses, and hurt students.
The day before Gov. Lamont releases his first budget, CSCU officials told lawmakers an economic analysis shows the system pumped $11.1 billion in income into the state’s economy in 2017.
CSCU officials say that shortfall would occur if state funding and tuition stay flat, and warn free tuition for all might not be in the cards.
Ben Barnes, who has overseen Connecticut’s state finances for eight years as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s only secretary of policy and management, was named Monday as the chief financial officer for the state’s sprawling system of community colleges and regional state universities.